The Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Institute (GNEII) held a
two-day symposium and graduation ceremony on the Abu Dhabi campus
of Khalifa University on October 9 and 10 to mark the completion of
their 2012 program.
The symposium focused on nuclear safety, security, and
safeguards and featured the eleven capstone projects completed by
the GNEII fellows. The 2012 GNEII class consisted of 26 fellows
from five different countries. The capstone projects were the
culmination of the 16-week GNEII course. Four of the capstone
projects are already slated for publication in international
The symposium was opened by Ambassador Michael H. Corbin, the US
ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. Also in attendance were
representatives from the US Department of Energy, US Department of
State, Sandia National Laboratories, Khalifa University, the
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), the Emirati Federal
Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), the Emirati Critical
Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority, and the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). TAMU was
represented by Nuclear Engineering Interim Department Head Dr.
Yassin Hassan, NSSPI Deputy Director Dr. David Boyle, and GNEII
Faculty Coordinator Dr. Michael Schuller.
A key note address on a "Culture of Safety" was given by a
senior member from ENEC, and the symposium program included a
presentation by Dr. Ali Boussaha from IAEA on the IAEA's Technical
Cooperation Department activities in the Middle East and a
discussion on "3S integration in nuclear regulation in UAE" by Dr.
Christer Viktorsson, Deputy Director General of FANR. GNEII alumni,
Mr. Wael Al Hashimi, who is currently working with CICPA, also
spoke to the graduates.
According to GNEII manager Abdelaziz Al Madhloum, "Programs like
GNEII are vital to furthering the region's quest to develop a
peaceful nuclear program, as well as become an intellectual and
academic hub in the Gulf area."
GNEII was established in 2011 as a Khalifa University institute
housing a regional education program offering both classroom
instruction and hands-on experience in topics related to nuclear
energy safety, security, safeguards and nonproliferation. Conceived
as a response to the growing interest in nuclear energy among
Middle Eastern nations, GNEII strives to promote a nuclear energy
security and safety culture in countries in the region with nascent
nuclear energy programs. The program is sponsored on the US
side by the International Nuclear Safeguards and Engagement Program
(INSEP) at the US Department of Energy / National Nuclear Security
Administration, and the Partnership for Nuclear Security (PNS),
which is a program of the US Department of State's Office of
Cooperative Threat Reduction. NSSPI has worked with Sandia
National Laboratories to develop the curriculum and supply the
instructors for the modules.